Congresswoman Katie Hill admitted that she had an inappropriate relationship with a staffer and her husband. The admission of guilt followed the leaking of intimate photos, which prompted a probe by the House Committee on Ethics.
Trouble for Rep. Katie Hill started last week when the political website RedState published photos and intimate details of the freshman congresswoman’s inappropriate relationship with a staffer.
Photos show Hill and the staffer kissing, and one photo shows the Democrat congresswoman from California completely nude while brushing the young woman’s hair. RedState claims to have received intimate photos of Hill and her subordinate, but say that the publication has “chosen not to publish.”
Rep. Katie Hill, who is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, was allegedly in a “throuple” relationship with the young staffer and her husband. Hill and her husband, Kenny Heslep, are currently in divorce proceedings.
The unnamed staffer and Hill allegedly had a relationship since 2017; around November 2017 congresswoman hired the young woman making her an employee. The throuple were believed to have been in a long-term committed relationship, even taking multiple vacations together.
Heslep, who was married to Hill for “nearly 15 years” and filed for divorce in July, alleged that the threesome relationship started to fizzle around the same time that Katie allegedly got involved in a sexual relationship with her then-finance director, now legislative director, Graham Kelly.
On Tuesday, Hill said that she did not have a relationship with Kelly. Representative Hill, who is openly bisexual, fought back against the allegations by releasing a statement.
“The fact is I am going through a divorce from an abusive husband who seems determined to try to humiliate me,” Hill told Politico. “I am disgusted that my opponents would seek to exploit such a private matter for political gain.”
“Intimate photos of me and another individual were published by Republican operatives on the internet without my consent,” Hill said. “I have notified Capitol Hill police who are investigating the situation and potential legal violations of those who posted and distributed the photos, and therefore will have no further comment on the digital materials.”
“This coordinated effort to try to destroy me and people close to me is despicable and will not succeed,” Hill continued. “I, like many women who have faced attacks like this before, am stronger than those who want me to be afraid.”
However, RedState published text messages that seem to contradict Hill’s sentiments about a relationship with her aide.
Hill, who represents Southern California’s 25th Congressional District, did admit to having a throuple relationship with her staffer and her husband. “I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” Hill said in a statement. “For that, I apologize. I wish nothing but the best for her and hope everyone respects her privacy in this difficult time.”
“I know that even a consensual relationship with a subordinate is inappropriate, but I still allowed it to happen despite my better judgment,” Hill said in a statement. “For that, I apologize. I wish nothing but the best for her and hope everyone respects her privacy in this difficult time.”
On Wednesday, the House Ethics Committee announced that it had launched an investigation into Hill’s inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. Hill is the first female lawmaker to face a House ethics inquiry on a sex-related matter.
“The Committee is aware of public allegations that Representative Katie Hill may have engaged in a sexual relationship with an individual on her congressional staff,” the committee said in a statement. “The Committee… has begun an investigation and will gather additional information regarding the allegations.”
The Code of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives states: “A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not engage in a sexual relationship with any employee of the House who works under the supervision of the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner, or who is an employee of a committee on which the Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner serves. This paragraph does not apply with respect to any relationship between two people who are married to each other.”
Republican congressman Matt Gaetz from Florida defended his colleague on Twitter by writing: “This is just absurd. The only person who seems to have a gripe is @RepKatieHill’s soon-to-be ex. Who among us would look perfect if every ex leaked every photo/text? Katie isn’t being investigated by Ethics or maligned because she hurt anyone – it is because she is different.”
This does open the discussion for revenge porn if Hill’s husband or former staffer leaked the photos to RedState. The naked photo of Rep. Hill that RedState posted had her breasts blurred out, and she was not in a sexual situation. The definition of the California law on revenge porn, which is otherwise known as “nonconsensual pornography,” is “an image of the intimate body part of another identifiable person, or an image of that person engaged in sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation or masturbation.”
RedState also obtained text messages from Kenny Heslep and the staffer to Hill, showing concern for Hill’s drinking. A text from female staffer claims that Hill was partying hard until nearly 4 AM and the congresswoman missed her flight later that day.
A few days later, Hill allegedly missed another flight between Washington, D.C., and California. Texts reportedly show a staffer named “Cat” telling Hill’s husband about the missed flight and Heslep asked, “Does anyone find it odd how many she’s been missing lately?”